I have been poking a lot of fun at the previous owners, and that includes all of the previous owners, of Akupara in regards to the amount of stuff we have found hidden away in the dark recesses of her hull. For those of you who do not know, let me explain the difference between a cruising boat and a sail boat.
A modern sail boat, is a floating status symbol. It costs ridiculous amounts of money to buy, (we recently looked at a brand new Hanse 44, asking price $350000 plus commissioning, and that was on sale) It is made of lots of shiny materials, and high tech self tending sails with electric winches and bow thrusters and built in cappuccino machines. They feel as wide and spacious inside as a comfortable condominium. They are stunning and most sailors drool every time they see one at the boat show. I mean the lines of people all standing with their shoes removed, and socks with one or possibly two toes sticking through, just to be able to go inside and pretend that they could afford one, proves their appeal. And besides, all of the magazines tell you that you must have one. Those fortunate enough to be able to purchase one, are easily identifiable. They typically come screaming into the marina parking lot in the latest BMW/Porsche/Mercedes/Lexus sportamachine thingy, with the top down and the long blond hair flowing from the passenger side. When they manage to stop and park the sportamachine thingy, out step the 2 most beautiful people in the world with her clutching a pocket dog. You know, a pocket dog. The one that somewhere in ancient history was a member of the canine family, but has long since been removed and is now closer to the rodent (rat) family. It hates everyone, refuses to walk, and is usually named Cuddles or something just as ridiculous. The perfect pair make their way down to the “Yacht” and typically spend the rest of the day drinking red wine in crystal glasses, her in the bikini and him in the latest board shorts, while Cuddles pees in the lazarette. Except on Wednesday and Saturday. That’s when Mr Perfect arrives with all of his buddies, who I might add, are typically not as affluent as he is, all of whom are decked out in the latest matching racing gear, and Cuddles’ pee platform turns into the latest and greatest racing machine! As soon as the engine starts, the Captain transforms from Mr Perfect to Mr Jeckle. The sreaming starts, the insults, the putdowns, the lack of accountability for his own inability to steer. And as soon as they make it back to the dock, the excuses and the cheques start flowing. Well, the reason we only made 3rd place, is that my high tech spectra cross stiched with kryptonite headsail is 3 months old, I am going to replace it with a brand new one for next week and then watch out! They all jump into their sportamachines and tear off in a cloud of dust and expensive cologne.
All the while this is going on with Mr Perfect, quietly working on a 40 year old boat in the slip beside him, are the cruisers. She is sporting callouses as opposed to manicured nails like Mrs Perfect, her blonde locks are more a result of sun bleaching than salons and his belly more closely resembles a keg than a six pack. Their dog has a strange self assurance in its eyes, that only comes from knowing that it can hold it’s pee for 18 days on long crossings, while drinking water that tastes somewhat as good as stale plastic. Their boat doesn’t look exactly rundown, more well used like. It typically sports a self steering windvane, solar panels, and at least one home made contraption that makes their life easier. They drink rum and it definitely is not in crystal glasses. Their clothes are somewhat faded from all of the hand washing at sea, but they could sail their boat into, out of, beside, or on top of, if they so chose, any slip, port or harbour in the world without so much as a slightly elevated voice. When something goes wrong, they don’t whip out the chequebook, they go down into the dark recesses of the boat and pull out one of the spares that they have carried for years because they knew one day they would need it and where the hell are you going to get it when you are 800 miles from the nearest port? They have saved, skimped, bartered, and sometimes stole their way to where they are now. They fix their own sails, perform their own diesel maintenance, change their own watermaker filters, talk on the single side band radio and climb up and down their own mast like monkeys. They do not have loads of money in the bank earning interest faster than they can spend it, but they also don’t work 90 hours a week in order to have it, which is exactly why they have been able to take the time, learn the skills, and travel to those exotic places you see in all of the sailing/cruising magazines.
So to summarize the difference between a cruising boat and a sailing boat. A sailing boat is never more than a phone call away from the nearest sea towing service and a phone call is all that is needed along with a large credit card. A cruising boat needs to be self sufficient as it isn’t a matter of if something is going to break, it is a matter of when, and when it does happen, you better have the knowledge, parts, pieces, or stuff needed to fix it.
So to all of the cruisers out there, keep on hoarding, even though I have made light of you, I understand and respect you. And when the shit hits the fan, you are who I want to be at sea with, not Mr and Mrs Perfect along with peeing cuddles in their floating chequebook!!